No refunds: Cruisers were warned the ship might sail without lights to avoid pirates

The Sea Princess
The Sea Princess

Cruise passengers had been warned about the possibility of pirates.

The 1,900 passengers aboard the Sea Princess paid nearly $40,000 for a 104-day luxury world cruise. When the ship was going through the Indian Ocean, the captain announced that there was a “real” threat of a pirate attack. That threat prompted the cruise ship to go dark for 10 days.

“No deck parties, no movies under the stars, no late-night outdoor bar hopping or pool dipping,” wrote cruise passenger Carolyne Jasinski, listing everything that was shut off because of the threat. “No lights, no party atmosphere, no lapping up tropical breezes on their balconies. All around the ship, as the sun set, all curtains were drawn and all shutters closed. Bright lights, which normally signal the presence of the Sea Princess on the ocean, were dimmed or turned off altogether.”

Several people expressed outrage on behalf of the cruisers online, wondering if the cruise line had offered refunds. The Princess Cruises line press office did not immediately return a request for comment.

But it seems unlikely, based on the Princess Cruises passage contract. In a section labeled “Notice concerning safety and security,” the contract specifically mentions the possibility of the need to sail without lights.

“The United States Department of State and other similar government agencies regularly issue advisories and warnings to travelers giving details of local conditions in specified cities and countries according to such agency’s perception of risks to travelers,” the contract states. “Carrier strongly recommends that Guests and their travel agents obtain and consider such information when making travel decisions.”

“Although unlikely, the ship may be confronted by actual or threatened war, warlike operations or hostilities,” it continues. “Carrier has the absolute right and sole discretion to respond to safety concerns of any kind, including but not limited to sailing with or without lights, deviating from customary practices or rules and regulations concerning navigation, cargo or other matters in time of peace, or sailing armed or unarmed and with or without convoy.”

Hopefully, the passengers enjoyed the other 94 days of the cruise enough to make up for it.